Saturday, March 26, 2005

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections

So I've stolen my title from Carl Jung's journals, or at least his published ones. I am thinking that it is really crazy that someone can actually own the rights to publish someone else's memories and that permission may be withheld from anyone else. Anyway, this is my blog, and if anyone wants to simply cite me, I am happy enough. No fee. No blame. Promise.
This past week a lot happened. Class with Ross Todd touched on many topics, but began with his trip to work camps in Germany, notably Auschwitz and another one that starts with a "B" that I can't quite remember now. Ross decided that his mission to understand the holocaust, the most horrific human tragedy in human history, had to be abandoned during his actual visit. It was seeing the personal remains of flesh and blood people in the form of museum objects now -- shoes, combs, glasses-- that made the entire picture incomprehensible.
Although Ross thought that he abandoned his quest for understanding in the cognitive sense, my feeling is that he reached an emotional and personal understanding of the event, which is a deeper relationship with an event, even one that has not been experienced personally. We all yearn to feel the real thing. That is why when we read romantic poetry, we yearn to actually experience the feelings of the poets. Language alone is not the experience, at best a cultural construct, but sometimes it is so moving as to move us to tears or laughter or confusion.
This week I had a confrontation with two other pieces of memory, one minor and one major, that is, losing all the pictures I had taken that were stored on my phone camera; and, the loss of my mother's brother, Uncle Jack. The funeral is on Tuesday, and I am wondering what memories will do for reconstructing who he was. Others will come with their memories and all these memories will collide, but none will actually be able to rebuild the entity, Jack Marlan. This is my first small public memorial. They say that memories fade, but they do not know that sometimes memories make the past grow in size.
We have no choice about having memories or forgetting parts of the past, but when it came to Verizon choosing to replace my phone and not caring about the memories I had stored on my phone, I realized that the representation of memory, or memorials are important personal constructions. They mingle with the present, actually hold the present up in places, through tradition and ritual, but only the larger more commercial ones are universally recognized. For most of us fiction articulates the personal memories that are universal. Each of us carries our own information about the past. We all go on, sometimes connected by memories, dreams, and reflections.

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